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 The philosopher and psychologist, William James (brother to the famous novelist Henry James) was a leading thinker of the late nineteenth century and one of the most influential American philosophers, regarded by many as the father of American psychology. James established the philosophical school known as pragmatism and is also cited as a founder of functional psychology. Noted for his rich and vivid literary style, James developed the philosophical perspective known as radical empiricism, while his work went on to influence intellectuals such as Émile Durkheim, W. E. B. Du Bois, Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein. For the first time in digital publishing, this eBook presents James’ complete works, with numerous illustrations, rare texts, informative introductions and the usual Delphi bonus material. (Version 1)


* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to James’ life and works

* Detailed introductions to the major texts

* All the published books by William James, with individual contents tables

* Features rare essays appearing for the first time in digital publishing, including the posthumous collection: ‘Collected Essays and Reviews’

* Images of how the books were first published, giving your eReader a taste of the original texts

* Excellent formatting of the texts, with original footnotes

* Special chronological and alphabetical contents tables for the essays

* Easily locate the essays you want to read

* Includes James’ letters – spend hours exploring the philosopher’s personal correspondence

* Features James’ brother Henry’s seminal biography ‘Notes of a Son and Brother’

* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and genres


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CONTENTS:


The Books

The Principles of Psychology

Psychology (Briefer Course)

The Will to Believe and Other Essays

Human Immortality

Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals

The Varieties of Religious Experience

Pragmatism

A Pluralistic Universe

The Meaning of Truth

Some Problems of Philosophy

Memories and Studies

Essays in Radical Empiricism

Collected Essays and Reviews


The Essays

List of Essays in Chronological Order

List of Essays in Alphabetical Order


The Letters

The Letters of William James


The Biography

Notes of a Son and Brother by Henry James


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At most of our American Colleges there are Clubs formed by the students devoted to particular branches of learning; and these clubs have the laudable custom of inviting once or twice a year some maturer scholar to address them, the occasion often being made a public one. I have from time to time accepted such invitations, and afterwards had my discourse printed in one or other of the Reviews. It has seemed to me that these addresses might now be worthy of collection in a volume, as they shed explanatory light upon each other, and taken together express a tolerably definite philosophic attitude in a very untechnical way.

Were I obliged to give a short name to the attitude in question, I should call it that of radical empiricism, in spite of the fact that such brief nicknames are nowhere more misleading than in philosophy. I say 'empiricism,' because it is contented to regard its most assured conclusions concerning matters of fact as hypotheses liable to modification in the course of future experience; and I say 'radical,' because it treats the doctrine of monism itself as an hypothesis, and, unlike so much of the half-way empiricism that is current under the name of positivism or agnosticism or scientific naturalism, it does not dogmatically affirm monism as something with which all experience has got to square. The difference between monism and pluralism is perhaps the most pregnant of all the differences in philosophy. Primâ facie the world is a pluralism; as we find it, its unity seems to be that of any collection; and our higher thinking consists chiefly of an effort to redeem it from that first crude form. Postulating more unity than the first experiences yield, we also discover more. But absolute unity, in spite of brilliant dashes in its direction, still remains undiscovered, still remains a Grenzbegriff. "Ever not quite" must be the rationalistic philosopher's last confession concerning it. After all that reason can do has been done, there still remains the opacity of the finite facts as merely given, with most of their peculiarities mutually unmediated and unexplained. To the very last, there are the various 'points of view' which the philosopher must distinguish in discussing the world; and what is inwardly clear from one point remains a bare externality and datum to the other. The negative, the alogical, is never wholly banished. Something—"call it fate, chance, freedom, spontaneity, the devil, what you will"—is still wrong and other and outside and unincluded, from your point of view, even though you be the greatest of philosophers.

 

 

‘Thoughts’ and ‘things’ are names for two sorts of object, which common sense will always find contrasted and will always practically oppose to each other. Philosophy, reflecting on the contrast, has varied in the past in her explanations of it, and may be expected to vary in the future. At first, ‘spirit and matter,’ ‘soul and body,’ stood for a pair of equipollent substances quite on a par in weight and interest. But one day Kant undermined the soul and brought in the transcendental ego, and ever since then the bipolar relation has been very much off its balance. The transcendental ego seems nowadays in rationalist quarters to stand for everything, in empiricist quarters for almost nothing. In the hands of such writers as Schuppe, Rehmke, Natorp, Münsterberg—at any rate in his earlier writings, Schubert-Soldern and others, the spiritual principle attenuates itself to a thoroughly ghostly condition, being only a name for the fact that the ‘content’ of experience is known. It loses personal form and activity—these passing over to the content—and becomes a bare Bewusstheit or Bewusstsein überhaupt, of which in its own right absolutely nothing can be said.

I believe that ‘consciousness,’ when once it has evaporated to this estate of pure diaphaneity, is on the point of disappearing altogether. It is the name of a nonentity, and has no right to a place among first principles. Those who still cling to it are clinging to a mere echo, the faint rumor left behind by the disappearing ‘soul’ upon the air of philosophy. During the past year, I have read a number of articles whose authors seemed just on the point of abandoning the notion of consciousness,[3] and substituting for it that of an absolute experience not due to two factors. But they were not quite radical enough, not quite daring enough in their negations. For twenty years past I have mistrusted ‘consciousness’ as an entity; for seven or eight years past I have suggested its non-existence to my students, and tried to give them its pragmatic equivalent in realities of experience. It seems to me that the hour is ripe for it to be openly and universally discarded.

Volume 2 of 2. I must confess I know little, if anything, about the War of 1812 with the USA, which is the subject of this book. For anybody else in the same boat, who wants to learn about it, this 1000-page account will go a long way towards remedying that lack of knowledge. It is a contemporary account, published a few years after the war, which officially ended in December 1814 though hostilities dragged on. As you might expect, the prose is flowery, written at a time when authors were not inclined to simply call a spade a shovel, but rather tended to elaborate with wordy sentences. That said, it is a very comprehensive account with great attention to detail, beginning with the causes for the war during which an American invasion of Canada was sharply seen off. There are numerous appendices containing official correspondence, the wording of the Peace Treaty drawn up in Ghent in December 1814 (though hostilities did not cease for a two or three months) and casualty figures for various engagements. Battle honours awarded to the British forces engaged included Detroit, Niagara, Miami and Queenstown, but on the other hand James is severely critical of what he calls the misbehaviour in action of two British regiments, the 44th and 21st Foot, described as “the two worst disciplined corps on the field at New Orleans.” The problem for the British was the threat from Napoleon, and it wasn’t till the Spring of 1814, after his fall, that they were able to reinforce significantly their naval and military forces forces; nevertheless they were certainly pleased to see the end of the war. It was during this conflict that Washington was taken and the Capitol burned – and that reminds me of a story an American officer colleague told me. He was attending a military conference chaired by US colonel and at some point the British representative, also a colonel, was proving difficult. Eventually the exasperated chairman thumped the table saying: “What can you expect from the guys who burned Washington!” The British officer replied: “Really? I know we did Joan of Arc but I didn’t know we did George as well!” Evidently I was not alone in my ignorance.
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